It’s safe to say that almost everyone has had canker sores at some point in their lives.
Here’s an overview of what causes canker sores in your mouth and what you can do to prevent them.
What Are Canker Sores?
Before we delve into what causes canker sores, we believe it’s important to explain what they are.
Canker sores (also known as aphthous ulcers) are small ulcers that develop in your mouth. They are white-colored small lesions that have a red outline.
Mild canker sores can make it painful to eat food (especially spicy and sour foods) and talk.
Minor canker sores are nothing to worry about. They heal by themselves in about two weeks.
If the sores worsen or don’t heal by then, visit your local doctor for a diagnosis.
Major canker sores, on the other hand, can cause a lot of pain. These sores are deeper and significantly larger than minor canker sores.
These take about six weeks to heal completely. You should consult your doctor for treatment options.
It’s common for patients to have high fever and lymph node swelling along with major canker sores.
What Are Some Of The Causes Of Canker Sores In Your Mouth?
There are many causes of canker sores in your mouth. Here are some of them:
Most researchers attribute the cause of the sores to injuries in the mouth. This can occur by biting the inside of your mouth, brushing too vigorously, or through a sporting injury.
Sensitive Reaction To Certain Foods
One common cause of these sores is a sensitive reaction to certain foods. These include sensitivities to coffee, spicy foods, nuts, chocolate, acidic foods, and more.
The acidity in citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and lime may trigger the development of a sore in your mouth.
Constant Emotional Stress
Stress can cause a lot of physical problems in your body. This may include, but is not limited to, headaches, mental illnesses like depression and anxiety disorders, and other symptoms.
The effects of stress may also manifest in a greater number of canker sores in your mouth.
If you find yourself constantly stressed, you should consider seeking professional help to manage it.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
You may also develop canker sores in your mouth if your diet lacks Vitamin B12. If you suspect a deficiency, consult your doctor about taking vitamin supplements.
Your diet should also contain a healthy amount of folic acid, iron, and zinc. This will reduce the chances of developing these sores in your mouth.
Certain Mouth Rinses And Kinds Of Toothpaste
Mouth rinses and toothpaste that contain large amounts of sodium lauryl sulfate may trigger canker sores as well.
How Can You Treat Canker Sores At Home?
Minor canker sores usually don’t last long. However, you can speed up healing process and alleviate some of the discomfort with a few home remedies.
Here are some ways you can treat canker sores at home.
You can make a homemade mouthwash to help treat the canker sores in your mouth. In a cup of warm water, add half a teaspoon of baking soda and salt.
Stir the ingredients well. Rinse your mouth with the solution for five to ten seconds each time.
Apply Ice Cubes
You can help alleviate some of the pain from canker sores by applying ice cubes directly on the sores. After every five to six hours, put an ice cube in your mouth.
Make sure that the cube dissolves over the sores. You can continue doing this until it heals completely.
Avoid Spicy And Sour Foods
You must avoid foods that can cause canker sores in your mouth. Consuming such foods may worsen the condition of your current canker sore .
Therefore, avoid spicy and sour foods for the next few weeks. You should also avoid acidic fruits like lemons, strawberries, pineapples, and oranges.
Fewer spices in your diet will help reduce the discomfort from the sores as well.
How To Prevent Canker Sores
Canker sores can be frustrating to deal with. Therefore, the best way to deal with them is to know how to prevent them.
Here are some ways you can prevent canker sores from developing in your mouth.
Use Soft-Bristle Toothbrushes
While it’s still hard to say what causes canker sores in your mouth, hard-bristle toothbrushes are a likely cause.
This is because you are more likely to injure the soft tissue in your mouth with a hard-bristle toothbrush.
Therefore, you must switch your existing toothbrush with one with soft bristles, if you haven’t already.
This will definitely reduce the chances of injuring the inside of your mouth.
Manage Your Stress In Healthy Ways
There are many reasons for you to be stressed. And the causes of stress vary from one person to another.
That said, you can manage your daily stress by engaging in various activities such as journaling, exercising, creating art, meditating, etc.
If you are still finding it difficult to manage your stress, consider seeking professional help.
Take Better Care For Oral Hygiene
Flossing your teeth after every meal can reduce the chances of developing canker sores.
This is because foods that may trigger the sores won’t be lingering in your mouth for long.
Brushing your teeth thoroughly before bed will also reduce the chances of an allergic reaction to certain bacteria.
You must also stop using oral products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
Last Few Words On Canker Sores
Canker sores can be a source of irritation and pain for two weeks.
Therefore, it’s important to know some of its causes so that you can prevent them from developing in your mouth.
If you do get these sores in your mouth, just take extra care to get rid of them as soon as you can.
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